Murder on film, or more so the examination of murder, is an incredibly touchy subject that can both sway audiences in either divisive spectrum. With the debut feature of the Tohill brothers, they’re intricate ideas and overarching narratives, are unfortunately sacrificed in favor of nauseating twists and turns. What could have been a genuine exploration on grief, innocence, and the effects of the criminal judicial system, ended up creating a film deeply contrived within it’s campy nature. Relying too heavily on predictable story beats (mainly cliches which can be found in other better films), it’s difficult to even be remotely invested in The Dig, with all of it’s poor plot contrivances.
Through it’s distinct Irish setting, the film commences with some remarkable shots and atmospheric direction which shows promise from the brothers. Manipulating the camera and location as means to investigate the mindset of Ronan, the main focus of the film, gives a cold and brooding depiction of the lifestyle which he previously indulged in, and the depressing aftermath of his implied criminal actions. It’s sharp effective directing, which frankly leaves quite the impression to behold. Unfortunately, while the opening few minutes of the film demonstrates a near-pitch perfect exercise in tension and world building, the Tahill brother fail to even reach the same heights of these very opening moments.
The overabundance of all too familiar cliches and plot points drags The Dig from becoming a relevant examination on murder. Leaning a little too heavily on numerous moments which just simply amount too predictable twists and turns, just isn’t thrilling anymore if there isn’t any real backbone or significant purpose of the film existing in the first place. If only the directorial duo could have focused more on what was important, the nitty gritty of chaos and emotion, which could have delivered a truly gratifying think-piece of the aforementioned themes/ideas.
It all comes down too potential and execution. While it’s opening sequences are surely impressive, the film never reaches the same strengths that it accomplishes in the first few minutes. Relying too heavily on the typically overused Hollywood formula (which continuously produces mediocre production after mediocre production), The Dig becomes something much worse than the sum of its parts. It’s useless. It’s a film which had potential to say something, but failed to leave an impression for audiences to chew on. So at the end of the day fellow reader, ask yourself this. If piece of media attempts to provoke an idea, but fails in delivering the execution of said idea, is this piece of “entertainment” even worth visiting in the first place?
The Dig is currently seeking North American Distribution